Meet the people behind Slow Food Lake Tahoe!
President | Directress of Events
Board Member Since 2014
Andrea Schaffer has thrived in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe community since 2013. She came to the area with vast interest and experience in the food, wine and wellness world. Andrea first discovered the Slow Food organization over 15 years ago while living in Bologna Italy, where “slow” was a way of life and food was at the center of culture and tradition. Italy ignited her passion for food, wine, agriculture and cooking, passions that led her to a career in the wine industry in New York and San Francisco. Here in Truckee, Andrea utilizes her passion for food and health as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She has a nutrition practice in Truckee called Not Just Broccoli where she helps community members with digestion, blood sugar, and chronic illnesses like cancer and autoimmune disease. In her free time, when she is not out hiking or biking the trails or playing frisbee with her dog, she can be found in her kitchen, cooking up delicious, healthy and “slow” meals for friends and family. She has worked with Slow Food to inspire the community to get involved in our food system since March 2014.
Secretary | Directress of Volunteers | Community Soup Night Lead
Board Member Since 2016
Trish moved to the Truckee-Tahoe community from her hometown of Chicago, IL in November 2010 in search of turning her dream of living in the mountains into a reality. Inspired by the simple, clean, natural beauty of the Sierras and Lake Tahoe, her awareness expanded and she began to look at food in a different light. Trish began to connect more closely with the local food systems via Community Supported Agriculture programs and Farmers Markets. She quickly became fascinated with how whole, unprocessed foods can help heal the body. She decided to take her curiosity to the next level and earned her Holistic Nutrition Consultant certificate from Bauman College in 2016. She now works as a Nutrition Consultant at High Sierra Natural Medicine in Truckee. Her goal is to help her clients ‘bridge-the-gap’ between traditional and holistic medicine so that they can receive the most comprehensive care possible. Additionally, Trish is Board Certified with the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and holds a 200-hour Yoga Teaching certificate through YogaWorks. In her free time, Trish enjoys her own giant backyard - whether snowboarding, hiking, biking, climbing or practicing yoga. Her most favorite thing to do, however, is to prepare food and share it with the people she loves.
Directress of the Food Bank Garden Garden
Board Member Since 2016
Katie Townsend-Merino is the Garden Director for the Food Bank Garden. She looks forward each season to having her hands in the dirt and her heart in the food we harvest. A retired psychology professor and college administrator she fulfilled her life dream of moving to the mountains full-time in Truckee and . . . found her people! With a fervent belief that food IS medicine and as a long-time gardener descending from many other long-time gardeners, she is passionate about using and teaching organic and regenerative gardening practices to humans of all ages. Katie is the Mom of three and Gramma of (almost) five and delights in bringing her family to help in the garden as often as possible, hoping to ensure future gardeners in the family tree. Katie also teaches mindfulness and mindful self-compassion which she practices both in the garden and out.
Social Media Coordinator | Community Soup Night Coordinator
Board Member Since 2018
Amy began her journey with the Slow Food Movement in college at San Francisco State University. There, she studied Holistic Health which included philosophies about health and healing with natural resources and food playing a major role. These studies led her to be more curious and conscious about food, its sources, and its power. When she moved from San Francisco to Truckee in Fall of 2011, she was inspired by the volunteer opportunities offered by SFLT to learn more about local food resources and the challenge of gardening in the Sierras. Her goals with SFLT include bringing people together to teach and inspire them about food – creating a self-reliant culture that trickles up into larger markets and eventually makes a global impact. Amy is also a Certified Massage Therapist who loves to travel and spend time around her home at Donner Lake.
Board Member Since 2019
Food Bank Garden Coordinator
Board Member Since 2020
McKenna grew up in an agricultural valley in sunny San Diego, where she developed her love for growing food. McKenna also grew up with countless, severe food allergies. This meant she had to be hyper aware of all of the food she would put in her body from a very small age. She came to realize that many ingredients of common processed foods did not align with her and her heath. McKenna decided that she wanted to dedicate her life to giving more people access to the clean food she spent her whole childhood needing. She came to Lake Tahoe in 2016 to pursue a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Sustainability at Sierra Nevada University. After graduating from SNU, she was granted the opportunity to intern at the Slow Food Lake Tahoe Food Bank Garden. That summer her relationship with the earth and the food that grew from it flourished. Not only did she delve deep into local food production through the garden, but she also managed Slow Food’s Truckee Community Farmers Market. There she got a look at the community aspect of local food and now believes that there is no way to have a local, sustainable food structure without the community backing it. She is excited about bridging the gap between the two and educating the community about good, clean, and fair food!
Jill of All Trades
Board Member Since 2019
Patti moved from Chicago to California in the early 80s. She is a life-long gardener, learning her love of the earth from her mother, who was a founding member of the Illinois Garden Club She is especially interested in promoting healthy eating habits among low income groups in order to affect social determinants of health. Social determinants of heath are resources that enhance quality of life that can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples of these resources include safe and affordable housing, access to education, public safety, availability of healthy foods, local emergency/health services, and environments free of life-threatening toxins. She spearheaded the creation of a raised bed garden on property owned by Children’s Hospital Oakland, where she worked for 25 years. Patti and her family became second home owners in Truckee in the early 90’s, and in 2018, after retiring from her full time career as a physical therapist and hospital administrator, Patti became a full time resident of Truckee. She began volunteering in the garden in 2019 and felt an immediate kinship with the mission of Slow Food Lake Tahoe. Patti is the mom of two children and has three amazing grandkids. In addition to gardening, Patti is an avid skier and ski instructor for persons with disabilities. She enjoys sewing, reading, and creating wedding flowers for friends and family.